September 09, 2019

Southern Illinois Symphony season to honor SIU’s 150th and Beethoven’s birthday

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra is celebrating SIU Carbondale’s 150th anniversary and the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven with six very special productions during the 2019-20 season.

Tickets are now available for the entire season or individual performances.

Special season

The Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, which includes SIU faculty and students along with talented community musicians and professionals from the region, has been providing high-quality musical entertainment in Southern Illinois since 1903.

The 2019-20 season opens with a matinee performance on Sept. 29 while the October concert is a joint production, featuring the combined orchestras of SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville.

Homage will be paid to Beethoven during several of the concerts. And what better way to celebrate SIU Carbondale’s 150th birthday than with a special performance featuring special guests and 150 years of American music?

All of the concerts take place in SIU’s beautiful Shryock Auditorium. With the exception of the first concert, which is at 2 p.m., all productions are at 7:30 p.m.

Six concerts scheduled

The complete Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra season schedule includes:

  • Sept. 29 – “Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.” The chamber orchestra performance, conducted by Edward Benyas, includes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Symphony No. 39” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 1” Benyas is professor of oboe and conducting at SIU and the music director for the Southern Illinois Music Festival and New Chicago Chamber Orchestra. Eric Lenz, director of the School of Music and associate professor of cello, will be the soloist for Joseph Haydn’s “Cello Concerto in C.”
  • Oct. 22 – “Mahler and Grieg.” The combined orchestras of SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville will present Gustav Mahler’s “First Symphony,” conducted by Michael Mishra, director of orchestral studies at SIUE. Benyas will lead the ensemble as it accompanies Awadagin Pratt, African-American virtuoso pianist, on Edward Grieg’s “Piano Concerto.”
  • Nov. 5 – “SIU at 150.” The SIU Concert Choir, Wind Ensemble and special guests join the Southern Illinois Symphony in celebrating of 150 years of American music, including selections from John Philip Sousa, Scott Joplin, Ira Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein and John Williams. Benyas, Susan Davenport, Christopher Morehouse and Cameron Taylor will conduct the music for this sesquicentennial music extravaganza.
  • Nov. 21 – “Handel’s ‘Messiah.’” The SIU Concert Choir, Choral Union and a variety of vocal soloists join with the Southern Illinois Symphony to perform George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.” Davenport will direct.
  • March 24, 2020 – “Stars of Altgeld.” Winners of the annual college and pre-college Solo Competitions will perform, accompanied by the Southern Illinois Symphony, which will also present Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 6” (“Pastorale”).
  • April 21, 2020 – “Great Opera Highlights.” The season wraps up with an evening featuring highlights of 19th Century opera, including internationally known soloists along with the SIU Concert Choir and Choral Union. Benyas and Thomas Frost will conduct.

Get tickets now

Tickets are now available, either for the entire season or individual musical performances. Season tickets include a free program booklet for each concert. Prices are $48 for students of any age, $100 for adults under the age of 50, or $120 for general admission.

Pricing for concerts in the Southern Illinois Symphony Series is $20 for general admission or $8 for students.

Call 618/453-2000 or visit to purchase tickets.